It is reported today (see the links above) that PM Abe's advisory panel on public education reform has decided to recommend that classroom hours be increased by 10 percent and strict discipline be given in class for the purpose of preventing further decline in students' academic performance as well as their morality. For high school students, volunteer work should be made mandatory to nurture a sense of citizenship, according to the panel. It is doubtful, however, if these compulsory measures could serve the purpose of improving students' academic and social performance, when students' interests and learning methods have become so diverse. Actually all those measures might well backfire. An alternative would be complete decentralization and privatization of public education to allow more diversity and creativity in teaching and learning for teachers as well as students.